Bubba Pollard wanted to get his 2014 season started by doing something he hadn’t yet accomplished in his illustrious career. He wanted to score his first career win at the prestigious New Smyrna Speedway in New Smyrna Beach, Florida. The Senoia, Georgia driver checked the feat off of his list this past Saturday night by winning the Red-Eye 100 Super Late Model event.
Pollard took the lead from Bobby Good with 17 laps to go and became the second non-Florida resident to win the race in the event’s 30 year history.
“It’s awesome; this gives us a lot of momentum. I feel like we had a lot of racecars capable of winning and we proved that tonight,” Pollard said in victory lane. “I really wanted to get the season started early and get going ahead of the other guys and learn. The more you race, the more you learn. Hopefully, more wins will come.”
Pollard was fast all weekend as he was on the top of the chart during the final practice session earlier in the day. Even a spinout in turn two during practice didn’t ruin his confidence leading up to the green flag.
In qualifying, he missed getting fast time by .001 seconds over Daniel Keene Jr.
Pollard started seventh after the eight-car invert and it didn’t take long for him to get in a podium position, where he challenged Derek Griffith for the runner-up spot.
Getting by Griffith was the toughest challenge in the race for Pollard, but the veteran driver kept his patience until it was time to make a move.
“I tried to race him (Griffith) in a respectable manner. It was early in the race and we had a much better car then they did,” Pollard said. “I tried to keep it clean and respect those guys, but when you are getting down to the closing laps you have to go and when we did, it didn’t take long to catch Good and the caution helped.”
That caution flew on lap 77 after a single-car incident in turn one. Pollard would start on the inside of Good on the restart and would take over the lead on lap 83 where he was uncontested to the checkered flag.
The Red Eye 100 win was his 80th 100-lap or more Late Model victory in his career. But maybe more important than anything else, the veteran racer is happy that he can now say he won a race at New Smyrna Speedway.
“We started coming here two years ago. We hit or miss here and we felt that we always had good race cars to win here,” Pollard said. “We could never put the whole program together and make it happen. I felt very confident after practice today that we had a good racecar capable of winning. We got a good start early and that helped out a lot.”
Pollard’s next event will be Speedfest 2015 at Watermelon Capital Speedway in Cordele, Georgia.
Bubba Pollard Team Release/51 Sports Release
Photo Credit: Speed51.com